Sunday, 3 May 2015

Brian Barrett: Of His Fullness We Have All Received: Origen's Understanding of Scriptural Unity

Throughout his works, Origen emphasizes the entirety of Scripture as the unified abundance of Christ’s teaching, dispersed through both its multiple books and its semantic registers. On one hand, the exegete must gather Jesus’ “words and teachings” from across the canon. On the other hand, Origen claims that because Scripture largely transmits Christ’s teaching indirectly, its canonical unity cannot be demonstrated by means of the visible points of contact between its books. This paper analyzes the kind of unity Origen understands Scripture to exhibit as it results from the hiddenness of divine meaning. With respect to both its content and mode of revelation, Scripture is possessed of a self-effacement by which it “respires” its hidden fullness. Composed thus, it participates in God’s self-revelation in the Word. This would suggest, however, that Origen’s exegesis cannot be reduced to an overly-simplistic dichotomy of senses, which opposes the literal and spiritual meanings.

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